Representing NZ in Bulgaria
By Emma Sharplin –
The two trainings per day have been worth it for Tuakau’s Ben Tyson.
The 19 year old Waikato University student has just been selected to represent New Zealand in U23 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, this July.
The former Sacred Heart student took up rowing in 2011, after being convinced to give it a go by a friend.
After three seasons, Ben decided that he would like to take rowing further than just in school.
“I thought it would be cool to make something more of it, but we really didn’t have the programme at Sacred Heart at the time to take it further.”
Instead, Ben’s big break came when he was coaching a team from Sacred Heart, and by opportunity, he met the coach of the New Zealand men’s rowing team.
“We were at our annual camp and I met him by chance. He told me about the U23 team, and encouraged me to put a nomination forward. I am so glad he did, as here I am now.”
Before being selected, Ben was asked to trial along with four others. He was recorded being coxswain for the Olympic Eight men and women’s teams, with the footage reviewed before a decision was made.
For Ben, this is just the beginning of becoming a New Zealand coxswain.
“I am pretty excited. This is the next step before the elite level. Being selected as coxswain for the U23 Men’s Eight sweeping team will not only be a great experience, but will help me to develop further.”
The role of a coxswain is more that just the responsibility of steering the boat.
“There are quite a few technical aspects to it, including coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers, and consistently checking the natural elements, like the currents and wind. It is a challenge that I enjoy.”
Ben has relocated to Cambridge, which enables him to join the High Performance programme and attend trainings with the crew, which can be up to three times a day.
If the rigorous training schedule wasn’t enough, Ben has to fundraise for his tour costs, which in total will be around $7000.
“Every cent is worth it. This has been something I really wanted to do, and I am going to give it my best shot.”
In his second year of studying Civil Engineering, Ben has also dropped two papers to help him focus on his goal of representing New Zealand.
“I’ll be able to pick them up again, but for now, I am focusing on my rowing.”
Those who are interested in helping Ben with his journey to Bulgaria, visit
CAPTION: Tuakau’s Ben Tyson has been selected as coxswain for the U23 Men’s Eight Sweeping team.